Benton Richard Fortey View All. Go to British Wildlife. Conservation Land Management. Go to Conservation Land Management. Publisher: Rutgers University Press. Click to have a closer look. Select version. About this book Customer reviews Related titles. Images Additional images. About this book Provides a description of nearly species of plants found in the Garden State and in nearby areas, that have been used medicinally. Customer Reviews Review this book. By: Cecil Still.
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Introduction of Medicinal Plants Species with the Most Traditional Usage in Alamut Region
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Atlas of Macroscopic Wood Identification. Not all medicinal plants are affected in the same way by harvesting pressures [ 23 , 24 ]. Overexploitation, indiscriminate collection, uncontrolled deforestation, and habitat destruction all affect species rarity, but are insufficient to explain individual species susceptibility or resilience to harvest pressure. Summary of original investigations into the conservation and sustainable use of medicinal plants. Factors contributing to the susceptibility or resilience of medicinal plants in response to collection pressure. Factors include distribution range, habitat specificity, population size, species diversity, growth rate, and reproductive system.
The dark line indicates less susceptible characteristics of medicinal plants, while the dashed line indicates more susceptible characteristics contributing to the rarity of medicinal plants. Medicinal plant resources are being harvested in increasing volumes, largely from wild populations. There is a threshold below which species reproductive capacity becomes irreversibly reduced [ 25 , 26 ]. Natural reserves and wild nurseries are typical examples to retain the medical efficacy of plants in their natural habitats, while botanic gardens and seed banks are important paradigms for ex situ conservation and future replanting [ 28 , 29 ] Fig.
The geographic distribution and biological characteristics of medicinal plants must be known to guide conservation activities, e.
Most medicinal plants are endemic species, and their medicinal properties are mainly because of the presence of secondary metabolites that respond to stimuli in natural environments, and that may not be expressed under culture conditions [ 22 , 29 ]. In situ conservation of whole communities allows us to protect indigenous plants and maintain natural communities, along with their intricate network of relationships [ 30 ].
Additionally, in situ conservation increases the amount of diversity that can be conserved [ 31 ], and strengthens the link between resource conservation and sustainable use [ 32 ]. In situ conservation efforts worldwide have focused on establishing protected areas and taking an approach that is ecosystem-oriented, rather than species-oriented [ 33 ]. Successful in situ conservation depends on rules, regulations, and potential compliance of medicinal plants within growth habitats [ 25 , 34 ].
The degradation and destruction of habitats is a major cause of the loss of medicinal plant resources [ 35 ].
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Natural reserves are protected areas of important wild resources created to preserve and restore biodiversity [ 36 , 37 ]. Around the world, more than 12, protected areas have been established, accounting for Conserving medicinal plants by protecting key natural habitats requires assessing the contributions and ecosystem functions of individual habitats [ 39 ].
It is impossible to designate every natural wild plant habitat as a protected area, owing to cost considerations and competing land uses [ 25 , 40 ]. A wild nursery is established for species-oriented cultivating and domesticating of endangered medicinal plants in a protected area, natural habitat, or a place that is only a short distance from where the plants naturally grow [ 4 , 20 , 41 ].
Although the populations of many wild species are under heavy pressure because of overexploitation, habitat degradation and invasive species, wild nurseries can provide an effective approach for in situ conservation of medicinal plants that are endemic, endangered, and in-demand [ 27 , 42 ]. Ex situ conservation is not always sharply separated from in situ conservation, but it is an effective complement to it, especially for those overexploited and endangered medicinal plants with slow growth, low abundance, and high susceptibility to replanting diseases [ 4 , 43 , 44 ].
Ex situ conservation aims to cultivate and naturalize threatened species to ensure their continued survival and sometimes to produce large quantities of planting material used in the creation of drugs, and it is often an immediate action taken to sustain medicinal plant resources [ 45 , 46 ]. Many species of previously wild medicinal plants can not only retain high potency when grown in gardens far away from the habitats where they naturally occur, but can have their reproductive materials selected and stored in seed banks for future replanting [ 4 ].
Botanic gardens play an important role in ex situ conservation [ 43 ], and they can maintain the ecosystems to enhance the survival of rare and endangered plant species [ 38 ]. Although living collections generally consist of only a few individuals of each species and so are of limited use in terms of genetic conservation [ 47 ], botanic gardens have multiple unique features.
They involve a wide variety of plant species grown together under common conditions, and often contain taxonomically and ecologically diverse flora [ 48 ]. Botanic gardens can play a further role in medicinal plant conservation through the development of propagation and cultivation protocols, as well as undertaking programs of domestication and variety breeding [ 49 ].
Seed banks offer a better way of storing the genetic diversity of many medicinal plants ex situ than through botanic gardens, and are recommended to help preserve the biological and genetic diversity of wild plant species [ 50 , 51 ]. Seed banks allow relatively rapid access to plant samples for the evaluation of their properties, providing helpful information for conserving the remaining natural populations [ 50 , 51 ].
The challenging tasks of seed banking are how to reintroduce the plant species back into the wild and how to actively assist in the restoration of wild populations [ 50 ]. Although wild-harvested resources of medicinal plants are widely considered more efficacious than those that are cultivated, domestic cultivation is a widely used and generally accepted practice [ 30 , 52 , 53 ]. Cultivation provides the opportunity to use new techniques to solve problems encountered in the production of medicinal plants, such as toxic components, pesticide contamination, low contents of active ingredients, and the misidentification of botanical origin [ 54 ].
Cultivation practices are designed to provide optimal levels of water, nutrients, optional additives, and environmental factors including temperature, light and humidity to obtain improved yields of target products [ 27 , 55 ]. Moreover, increased cultivation contributes to decreases in the harvest volume of medicinal plants, benefits the recovery of their wild resources, and decreases their prices to a more reasonable range [ 4 , 13 , 20 ] Fig.
The advantages and disadvantages of wild resource versus cultivated medicinal plant species. Information from Hamilton [ 4 ], Schippmann et al. Price and harvest volume variation in the transition from wild-harvesting to cultivation of medicinal plants. As wild resources decline with overharvesting, the price of raw material increases accordingly. Therefore, cultivation becomes economically feasible for price stabilization and resource recovery of medicinal plants.
Data sources from Hamilton [ 4 ], Larsen and Olsen [ 13 ], Schippmann et al. Good agricultural practices GAP for medicinal plants have been formulated to regulate production, ensure quality, and facilitate the standardization of herbal drugs [ 56 ]. A GAP approach ensures high quality, safe and pollution-free herbal drugs or crude drugs by applying available knowledge to address various problems [ 57 ]. GAP include comprehensive items, such as the ecological environment of production sites, germplasm, cultivation, collection, and quality aspects of pesticide detection, macroscopic or microscopic authentication, chemical identification of bioactive compounds, and inspection of metal elements [ 58 ].
Many countries actively promote the implementation of GAP. For example, Chinese authorities have promoted GAP for the growth of commonly used herbal drugs in regions where those medicinal plants are traditionally cultivated [ 27 , 33 ]. Organic farming has received increasing attention for its ability to create integrated, humane, and environmentally and economically sustainable production systems for medicinal plants, [ 59 , 60 ]. The defining characteristic of organic farming is the non-use of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides, which are not allowed according to many current organic certification standards in Europe and North America [ 59 ].
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Organic farming is benign to the environment, and relies upon farm-derived renewable resources to maintain biological processes of medicinal plants and ecological balance of habitates [ 56 , 59 ]. The use of organic fertilizers continuously supplies soil nutrients and improves soil stability, significantly affecting the growth of medicinal plants and the biosynthesis of essential substances. For example, when organic fertilizers were applied, the biomass yield of Chrysanthemum balsamita was increased and its essential oil content was high relative to those free from organic fertilizers [ 61 ].
Organic farming of medicinal plants is becoming increasingly important in the long-term development and sustainability of medicinal plants [ 60 ]. For medicinal plants with limited abundance and slow growth, destructive harvesting generally results in resource exhaustion and even species extinction [ 13 , 62 ].
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Therefore, the sustainable use of medicinal plants should be considered, and good harvesting practices must be formulated. Root and whole-plant harvesting is more destructive to medicinal plants e. For herbal drugs made of whole plants or roots, using their leaves as a remedy can be a benign alternative. For example, Wang et al. Information from Schippmann et al. The development of genetic engineering has led to the feasibility of large-scale biosynthesis of natural products, and advancements in tissue culture and fermentation of medicinal plants have opened new avenues for the large-scale and highly efficient production of desirable bioactive compounds.
Tissue culture including plant cell and transgenic hairy root culture is a promising alternative for the production of rare and high-value secondary metabolites of medical importance [ 64 ]. Micropropagation via tissue encapsulation of propagules can not only facilitate storage and transportation, but also promotes higher regeneration rates [ 62 ].
When the amounts of normal seeds are insufficient for propagation, synthetic seed technology, defined as artificially encapsulated somatic embryos or other tissues could be used for cultivate in vitro or ex vitro, is a feasible alternative [ 65 , 66 ]. Furthermore, breeding improvements can be carried out using molecular marker-based approaches applied at the genetic level, and the time required for breeding may be significantly shortened [ 62 , 64 , 65 ].
Despite the existence of various sets of recommendations for the conservation and sustainable use of medicinal plants, only a small portion of these have achieved adequate protection of medicinal plant resources through conventional conservation in natural reserves or botanic gardens.